What is PVD coating and why is it important?

Borg & Overström T3 illustrating a PVD finish

So, “what is PVD coating?”

PVD stands for Physical Vapour Deposition and is a process of surface modification in metalworking. It is used to enhance durability, functionality and aesthetics.

The PVD coating process is used in a variety of products, including jewellery, engineering equipment, watches, window tinting, and most importantly for us … water cooler systems.

Here at Borg & Overström, we’ve been designing and manufacturing premium water dispensers and taps for over 20 years – using the latest technology to innovate our designs.

In this article, we will explore:

What is the process of PVD coating?

First, it is important to note that the term “coating” can be slightly misleading.

The process does not consist of adding an external layer of material. Rather, a PVD coating alters the physical makeup of the metal itself – it is more like a surface reconditioning than any additional, separate coating.

PVD involves the formation of a film at the atomic or molecular level under vacuum conditions.

The film is stripped from the metal’s surface, transitioning from a solid to gas (sublimation), and then back to a solid (deposition).

The most common method is called arc ION plating.

This alteration happens via a four-stage process, and is best articulated below by metal finish specialist John Desmond:

  1. Evaporation – A target is bombarded by a high energy source such as a beam of electrons or ions. This dislodges atoms from the surface of the target, ‘vaporising’ them, therefore depositing
    the material on the work piece.
  2. Transport – This is the movement of the vaporised atoms from the target to the substrate, or piece to be coated.
  3. Reaction – In cases where metal is the target the PVD coatings will consist of metal oxides, nitrides, carbides and similar such materials. The atoms of metal will then react with the selected gas during the transport stage. The gases used in the above coatings may be oxygen, nitrogen and methane.
  4. Deposition – This is when the coating builds up and bonds to the surface of the substrate. It even penetrates the surface slightly, to give a lasting level of adhesion.

The end result provides the treated surface with a new lustre and sheen, though the benefits go far beyond appearance.

Why is PVD coating used?

When we direct our focus towards the water refreshment industry, the main application of PVD coating is its anti-fingerprint coating quality.

Anti-fingerprint coating (also known as PVDAF) helps with the general maintenance – reducing the frequency of cleaning and increasing its durability.

This is precisely why we utilise the PVD technology at Borg & Overström. We are continuously innovating to help reduce the cost and labour of maintenance.

Is PVD coating available on all Borg & Overström products?

As a new innovative feature, only the black finish editions of the Borg & Overström T1, T2, and T3 tap systems feature a PVD coating.

However, sustainability and maintenance are embedded into our design culture – PVD is only the tip of this iceberg.

If you’re interested in learning exactly what impacts the longevity of our water cooler, or what measures are taken to make sure your Borg & Overström product is hygiene-assured – visit our learning centre.

We’re here to help you. So if you’re left with any questions – contact us – our expert staff are ready and waiting to help.


Our drinking water dispensers are available through selected partners